Excerpts and comments...
"The way I was raised, a college all-star game can only help a player, it can't hurt him," Gettleman said. "You have to be very careful. If you come here and a highly-ranked player has a bad week, you can't kill him based on that. It's a nine-month scouting process. You have to take your time and weigh everything."
I've heard scouts say that sort of thing before, that time spent with a team in real game situiations trumps performance in an all-star game with people you've just met.
"We have to make sure we all have the same vision," head coach Ron Rivera said. "We have to understand what we're all looking for, what characteristics we're looking for in football players and which football players will fit us the best."
Added Gettleman, "The most important thing is how the player fits with what you want to do. If you a draft a guy that doesn't fit what you're going to do, it's not going to work."
That's a pretty clear statement that Gettleman's philosophy is system centered rather than adaptive. It means their roster building process will follow the model of the Steelers as opposed to an adaptive philosophy like the Patriots.
Rivera and Gettleman are still just getting to know one another, but early conversations regarding personnel have left Rivera impressed.
"You listen to (Dave) talk about what he's seen in terms of talent and what his philosophy is in terms of finding talent, and I'm excited about it," Rivera said. "So far it's been a very good working relationship. I know there will be situations where we are going to disagree, but it's important to have those discussions."
For Gettleman, these initial days on the job and the staff meetings at the Senior Bowl are all about having honest conversation to build trust.
"You have to be comfortable and trust each other so there are open lines of communication and people are not afraid to take criticism or accept it," Gettleman said. "And that's all of us."
I like the statement that people can't be afraid to take constructive criticism. I question whether Marty Hurney ever offered that sort of thing. Clearly, Gettleman's not afraid to do just that.
In addition to deliberating personnel, the Panthers brass is also using time in Mobile to help fill out the coaching staff.
Carolina still must hire a handful of assistant coaches, and Senior Bowl practices offer an opportunity to converse with potential candidates.
"It's a big week for us as far as the staff is concerned," Rivera said. "We promoted a couple guys, and we're still interviewing guys for positions. There's a lot of work to be done, not just looking at football players but looking at guys that could potentially be on our coaching staff."
So the staff changes aren't quite complete yet, but the remaining positions are likely lower-level guys whose names you might not even see on the coaching page.
Gettleman hopes the newcomers – both draftees and assistant coaches – help enhance the pieces in place.
"There are pieces here that are very critical to building a championship team, there's no doubt about it," Gettleman said. "We just have to fill in the gaps."
Always like to hear guys talk about championship goals.